RPG fans – especially older ones – will have noticed that Electronic Arts recently released a re-release of the original Mass Effect trilogy. The story of Commander Shepard’s battle on behalf of all peaceful races against the Destructive Reapers is, if you like role-playing games, a must read. In this regard, it is very pleasant that BioWare is now releasing a modernized version. For newcomers this is of course the best way to experience the classics, while for old fans it can be a special reunion. But Mass Effect Legendary Edition is a very interesting product for another reason. The pack shows you in a beautiful way the lessons BioWare learned after the games were released. As a player you notice in a very natural way, and immediately after another, how Mass Effect has evolved. It’s still very interesting to see so many years later.
Mass Effect 1 was and is not a great game. Nice way to start a review, right? The first Mass Effect game is legendary in some ways. After all, it was the starting point for a very compelling trilogy and in some ways it was really good. For example, the game has strong story elements and it is the purest RPG of the three, as in later versions the emphasis was more and more on the action. So you could argue that things like character development and the way the game world is built are better for each other in Mass Effect 1, or at least it was already good in the first game. these elements ensure that, even after fourteen years, players look back fondly on their established relationships and the specific plot points of the first game.
If they choose to reboot Mass Effect in this legendary edition, all of those highlights will of course still be there. Especially for the first game, there are a lot of visual improvements. Entire parts of the game have been redesigned and modernized. If you put the game next to the original, there is certainly a big difference in all facets of the graphics. Whether you are looking at the character models, lighting effects, textures or even the resolution and presence of HDR: everything has been modernized. However, all this work cannot disguise that the basis of Mass Effect 1 is too old. You can’t build a game on that dated foundation that can keep up with today’s standards. Earlier this year, when we attended a Mass Effect Legendary Edition preview session, the creators indicated that bringing the game to Unreal Engine 4 was not an option – it should be entirely created and Mass Effect would no longer be Mass Effect. be impacted. Everything would look and feel different. BioWare had no appetite for this risk – and the sheer amount of extra work involved.
Although the base is clearly less solid, Mass Effect is doing quite well visually in the Legendary Edition. The real issues with this game are in the gameplay. Even if you only play the game for an hour, you will immediately notice that you are dealing with a heavily outdated game. Some aspects, such as the controls and interface, have been changed to make things more modern and the “feel” of aiming and shooting has also been improved. However, that’s not enough to keep Mass Effect from feeling awkward with any regularity. There are hardly any dynamics in the way the characters move. A border a few centimeters high is already too much and requires walking. Additionally, it lacks a clear “turn signal” that tells you where to go, so you often haphazardly walk in one direction in the hopes that all is well.
Then there are the many planets you can visit where you get behind the wheel of the Mako, a vehicle that allows Shepard and his team to explore these planets. The Mako’s controls and physics have been adjusted so that the vehicle no longer lies on its back as often as before. This “turnaround” still occurs from time to time, but more so easily. So it’s not that bad. What is annoying is that the planets are uniform. They are largely empty, it takes an unreasonable amount of time to go through them and the clashes that take place there become very monotonous. It is therefore advisable to leave these expeditions alone, unless you just like to run with the Mako and don’t care that every next planet you visit is similar to the last. If you don’t make too many unnecessary trips, then the first Mass Effect can be played in about ten hours. It’s shorter than we remember, but it’s probably due to us, or the fact that all the loading times are almost gone, so of course some time has evaporated as well.